Picking up from where I left off in my last post, home staging is something that a professional or a do-it-yourself homeowner can do.

There is no question some level of staging must happen on just about every listing, if for no other reason than to stand out next to the competition and sell with fewer days on the market.

Here are some more frequent staging mistakes that I see on a regular basis:

Forgetting fixtures

When staging a home, please don’t neglect to make sure that all lights are burning with new bulbs and that all fixtures are working properly. And make sure the bulbs are the same type for consistency. I have seen too many listings where some bulbs burn more white and some burn more of a yellow glow — it just looks odd.

Pets at home

This is a challenging one even to me as a pet owner, but it’s a good idea to remove traces of the family pets if at all possible from the house, and make sure they are gone during showings. Some people like cats, and some like dogs, but usually not both (except for me — I have both).

You never want to provide a turnoff or eliminate a certain group of buyers to limit that buyer pool. I have seen many dog lovers who were turned off by a smelly litter box — they left before seeing the whole house. On the flip side, I have seen houses with large metal dog crates or kennels in the kitchen that took away from the design and appeal of the home.

Gnawed door moldings, scratched floors or torn carpet due to paws running inside the home can make your home look more worn, and the buyer won’t get top dollar.

I walked into one home recently that had that wet dog smell like you can’t imagine. It was a lovely home, but it was as offensive as cigarette smoke. Strong odors will cut down on your showings or at least make them more difficult.

Recently I had a listing with a tenant who had a German shepherd that the owner would not remove for showings. He was a big guy. This particular showing agent told me it wasn’t a problem because she’s a dog person.

She called a couple of hours later to say she wouldn’t be showing after all because of the barking dog.

But the funniest part of showing a pet-inhabited listing was when an agent called me during an attempted showing to say she was on top of the bed in the master bedroom because the cat had cornered her there. That has never happened before or since then.

Neglecting the outside

People care about the outside space just as much as the inside, so add flowers, make sure the lawn is mowed and the yard is clean from debris, and remove any neglected backyard accessories that the kids used to play with.

If there is rotten wood or exposed wood around windows or doors, replace or touch up the paint to make it feel like new. Pull weeds and pressure wash the side of the house if it has mildewed.

Pick up animal droppings so that prospective homebuyers don’t step on anything unpleasant during a property showing. If there is an old car renovation project sitting in the driveway or in pieces in the garage, remove it.

Repaint the neglected playhouse in the backyard that has become an eyesore, and make it stand out. If the fence is broken — fix it.

Remember, staging a home means showcasing the property’s highlights and features. When selling a home, it is not about the owner and their particular design any longer. It is about making sure that design or staged home you are marketing appeals to the broadest group of homebuyers.

Make it as neutral a canvas as possible, and you will get a buyer quicker and for top dollar.

Read “Avoid staging mistakes and get that new listing sold faster: Part 1.”

Hank Bailey is an associate broker/Realtor at Re/Max Legends. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Hank Bailey.

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